We are in the midst of a pandemic, and you are getting divorced. It’s like adding insult to injury. You have your own family and financial issues to protect and to worry about. You likely are not even thinking as much about anything else, just trying to get through your day and plan for your future.
You do not know it, but the vultures are circling you and waiting to move in for the financial kill.
Protecting yourself from identity theft and financial fraud during divorce must remain a top awareness and priority to ensure that part of your assets is not the only thing that gets transferred from you.
Identity theft typically falls into six categories:
- Employment/Tax Fraud: This is the classic case of someone else using your social security number and other personal information for many purposes, including filing a tax return. Since returns are on delay this year, if someone else uses your social security number to file first, they could steal your benefits and create and expensive audit for you.
- Credit Card Fraud: We all know this one. Since we are all making more online purchases, lately, be sure to scrutinize everything.
- Phone/Utilities Fraud: Yes, this is a real thing. Someone else simply uses your personal information to take over or create a new account, and you end up paying for it.
- Banking Fraud: Same idea, here. Criminals use your personal information to create or take over a bank account.
- Loan/Lease Fraud: Your personal information can be used to obtain a lease, a new credit card, or even an unsecured line of credit. The bill comes to you.
- Government Benefit Fraud: While there are some safeties in this area, it is fairly common for criminals to obtain personal information to obtain governmental benefits, ranging from social security, Medicaid, and more. This could even subject you to a criminal inquiry
During the divorce process, you are required to fill out a long, comprehensive financial statement if there are court proceedings in Maryland. An experienced divorce attorney will assist you with this, but this is an excellent and necessary opportunity for you to pull your own credit report and ensure no one else is trying to take advantage of you.
There is a critical flaw in the Maryland judicial system that opens the door to financial fraud, which is that many documents filed in the courts are public information. While your financial statement is filed under seal and should be protected in most jurisdictions, your Marital Settlement Agreement, as well as certain evidence from financial hearings, is rarely sealed, opening a door for criminals to easily obtain your information.
Ask your divorce attorney how to better protect yourself against financial fraud and identity theft during the divorce process.
SIEGELLAW can help you. Call us at (410) 792-2300 or fill out the form on this page to request additional information.